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The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 Wednesday that a school district in Pennsylvania violated the First Amendment by punishing a cheerleader who used expletives in a Snapchat post sent while off campus.

Why it matters: The case pushed the boundaries of students' First Amendment rights and what schools can enforce outside school grounds, especially in the digital age.

Driving the news: The Court held that, "while public schools may have a special interest in regulating some off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the school are not sufficient to overcome [the student’s] interest in free expression in this case."

  • The ruling was written by Justice Stephen Breyer and only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.

Catch up quick: When Brandi Levy, a Pennsylvania freshman, did not make the varsity cheerleading squad for her high school, she posted a vulgar message on Snapchat saying, "F school, F cheer, F softball, F everything,'" per ABC News.

  • The school caught wind of Levy's message and suspended her from the team for a year, saying the punishment was necessary to "avoid chaos" and ensure a "teamlike environment," per The New York Times.

Flashback: In the landmark First Amendment case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District in 1969, the Supreme Court allowed students protesting the Vietnam War to wear black armbands, saying the students did not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” per the New York Times.

  • The Supreme Court has limited students' First Amendment rights on school grounds since Tinker v. Des Moines, per NYT.

Go deeper

First look: Thousands of school board members urge Biden to protect them

Anti-vaccine protesters outside of the San Diego Unified School District office. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

A group whose members include 90,000 elected school board officials around the U.S. is asking President Biden, the FBI and the Secret Service to intervene to protect members who are facing unprecedented threats in the politically charged climate surrounding debates over COVID-19 and systemic racism.

The big picture: School boards are suddenly dealing with surges in partisan candidates, recall efforts and even physical altercations.

Oregon school board bans political symbols from classrooms

Members of the Border Rider Motorcycle Group during the Portland Pride Parade and Festival. Photo: Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The school board of Newberg, Oregon, passed a resolution Tuesday banning teachers in the district from displaying “political, quasi-political or controversial" symbols in the classroom, The Oregonian reports.

Why it matters: The 4-3 vote comes after a couple of racist incidents happened in the school district, and the measure was approved despite teachers in the district rallying in opposition to it.

USDA to send $1.5 billion to help schools provide student lunch

Photo: Luis Antonio Rojas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is sending $1.5 billion to help schools struggling to serve students healthy lunches, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: School districts across the United States are experiencing food and supply shortages, price increases and delayed and canceled deliveries, among other setbacks, according to the School Nutrition Association.

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